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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 25th October 2007 Thread Starter
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Post hard shoulder

A traffic management scheme, which allows motorists to use the hard shoulder during peak periods, is to be extended across the country, Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly has announced.

Following the success of a motorway congestion trial on the M42 around Birmingham, a feasibility study will be carried out to consider if similar schemes around the country could be implemented to help ease the traffic.

The M42 trial - which saw improvements for motorists, the environment and the economy - allowed drivers to use the hard shoulder in peak periods, and saw average journey times fall by more than a quarter on the northbound carriageway.

As well as the feasibility study, new ways of managing motorway traffic will be implemented as part of a 150 million scheme on the motorways around Birmingham, taking in parts of the M6, M42 and M40.

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Ms Kelly said: "The M42 trial shows that using innovative thinking to help drivers beat motorway jams really works.

"New traffic management techniques, like hard-shoulder running and varying speed limits, offer practical and cost-effective solutions to cutting congestion, and I now want to explore whether other motorways could benefit from similarly creative measures.

"Other important benefits are less disruption from roadworks, reduced environmental impact, better information for drivers, and a faster, more effective response to accidents."

The trial saw weekday journey times improved by 27%, and overall fuel consumption reduced by 4%. Vehicle emissions fell by up to 10%.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 25th October 2007
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So where do we park our broken down renaults if the hard shoulder is full of cars too
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 25th October 2007
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I wonder how many people will have to die or be dreadfully injured on the "hard shoulder" before the amobea that thought this was a good idea work it out that this is a CRAP IDEA

Do it properly and build the roads ... oh thats right ... cant do that ....people will want to drive on them

Why is it the older I get .... the better I think I was ?
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 25th October 2007
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This is definitely a cheap and nasty solution, but it does appear to work on the M42. Generally speaking, the hard shoulder is used at peak times to allow traffic on and off at junctions - it isn't used as a general driving lane.

This should help to prevent long queues for junctions forming in lane 1, though the biggest problem in this scenario to my mind is the selfish cretins who go to the front of the queue in lane 2 and then stop because they've failed to find a gap. This effectively takes the main carriageway down to one lane. If they allow queuing on the hard shoulder, then even with the muppets driving to the end of lane 1, you still have lanes 2 and 3 still flowing.

When it comes to traffic merging with the main carriageway, I think there's more mileage in 'ramp metering' (the traffic lights on the end of the slip road) though if you're already using the hard shoulder to queue traffic for a problem exit, then I suppose it makes sense to continue to use it for joining traffic.

The biggest objection to this scheme seems to be access for the emergency services. With that in mind, it should be used minimally and only after careful consideration. But as usual, they appear to be viewing it as a 'one size fits all' solution.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 25th October 2007
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The trial only worked because there were no major incidents on that stretch of motorway!

Not a good idea in my opinion.

On a similar note I was stuck on the M5 yesterday southbound near Cheltenham about 3/4 mile from junction 10. There was an incident after the junction and you've guessed it there were c. 30+ cars that decided to put the hazzards on and use the hard shoulder!

No doubt their justification is that the emergency services would only use the southbound slip lane onto the motorway - WRONG!!! There isn't one!! This also meant that they would be unable to rejoin the motorway to save 1/2 mile of stationary traffic!!! This would result in rejoining at junction 11 a very long detour due to the amount of traffic!!

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